b. 1919d. 1987
Colin McCahon was born in Timaru and grew up in Dunedin. He attended Dunedin School of Art from 1937 to 1939, where he was most influenced by R. N. Field. After living in various parts of the country, in 1953 McCahon moved to Auckland finding work that would support his art practice first with the Auckland Art Gallery and later at the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts. McCahon was able to live as a full-time artist after 1971.
His extensive oeuvre extends over forty-five years of production and consists of various styles of painting including landscape, figuration, abstraction and the overlay of painted text. Along with Toss Woollaston and Rita Angus, McCahon is credited with introducing modernism to New Zealand in the mid twentieth century. He has long been regarded New Zealand's most important modern artist.